After a year and a half long “free trial period”, Nintendo Switch users now have to purchase a subscription to play online. The service launched one week ago today, and we’ve spent quite a bit of time with it. It’s definitely not perfect but we’ve been pleasantly surprised with what Nintendo’s provided.
At only $4/month or $20/year, Nintendo Switch Online isn’t going to break the bank for most people. There’s also a family plan for $35/year, but you can split it between 8 Nintendo Switch users, which can bring the price down to a measly $4.38 per person per year.
The NES Library
The service launched with 20 classic (for the most part) NES games available with 3 added each month.
There are masterpieces like Super Mario Bros. 3 and The Legend of Zelda, but nobody’s dying to play games like Tennis or Pro Wrestling. Regardless, 20 dollars a year for 20 games with more to come is still a great value. They even have online play added, so you can take on your friends in Balloon Fight from opposite sides of the country. We really are living in the future.
The game selection screen is snappy and responsive, and all the NES games are contained in one app called “Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online”. It’s not the most elegant title, but it does stop your Switch home screen from getting cluttered with 20 different games plus three new ones each month. There are also filters to put over your gameplay, similar to the NES and SNES Classic Editions. It’s easy to get in and out of a game, and that’s great due to the pick up and play nature of some of these titles.
Everyone’s been enjoying online play on their Nintendo Switches completely free of charge since the console launched last March. Connection issues were written off with the promise of an improved infrastructure when the paid service would launch, yet here we are, paying for Nintendo Switch Online, and there are still just as many reports of disconnects in Splatoon 2 or laggy Arms matches. That’s not even taking into account the horrible implementation of voice chat and invites, which brings us to…
The Smartphone App
Since its reveal, nobody has liked the Nintendo Switch Online app. Voice chat has been done right so many times, but Nintendo always does things their own way, and sometimes that way isn’t the right way. This is one of those times. Why do you have to use a phone to talk to other players? Why isn’t voice chat through the Switch an option?Why do some games like Splatoon not even have team voice chat? So many questions that shouldn’t even need to be asked.
Overall, Nintendo Switch Online hasn’t made much of an impression on us. It’s practically the same service we’ve been getting for free for 18 months until this point. The NES games are a good foundation to build off of, and hopefully other consoles will soon follow. Right now, the classic games are the service’s central selling point, and if they keep adding games at a steady rate and add new consoles like SNES, N64, and even Gamecube or DS, then Nintendo Switch Online might become a worthy successor to Virtual Console. Nintendo wanted Nintendo Switch Online to be a huge deal when it launched, but as of right now, it’s a resounding meh.
What do you think about Nintendo Switch Online? Let us know down below, and stay tuned to Circle Square Games for everything Nintendo.
When he's not playing video games, Diego's talking about video games, and he does both a lot.